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A romantic night out at the Anantara

By Shana Kongmun
I confess it is actually pretty rare for me to go for the “posh” hotel dinner, but when a friend asked me out to say thanks (for what I am not sure since he managed to succeed on his merit but that’s a different story), I jumped at the chance for some of the delicious Indian food on offer at the Anantara (formerly the Chedi for those who are unsure) and breathtaking location of the former British Consulate in Chiang Mai.
The location cannot be beat, and while mine was not a romantic dinner out, there were more than a few couples enjoying the beautiful ambiance of the stunning old building and the riverside location allowing views up and down the river.
Ambiance is, of course, to be expected at a restaurant of this caliber, and the Anantara ticked all the boxes. But of course, dining out is all about food. Executive Chef Prabhash Prabhakaran, from the Indian state of Kerala, did an outstanding job offering us a special tasting menu, luckily the tasting menu covers dishes on the relatively new menu and while everything was tasty, his fusion style mixing Thai, western and Indian flavors and dishes, my personal favorite was the lamb tandoori. The lamb was divine, tender and tasty, with the flavors of the tandoori but none of the potential dryness that can come with cooking in a tandoori oven.
This is not your traditional heavy rather oily Indian food but dishes with the flavors of India but with a light and healthier feeling. I love Indian food and confess to enjoying the rather heavy filling nature of most Indian food. However, this meal left me feeling full but not weighed down like a ton of bricks.
It is the Anantara so it may not be for a regular dinner out but for fine dining in an incredible location with fantastic food, it comes highly recommended.

RECIPES BY NOI: Kang Hoi (freshwater snail curry)

Freshwater snail can be easily found in natural ponds, rivers and rice fields. They are friendlier to plants and rice than the golden apple snail because they are very shy creature. They mostly live in mud but do not procreate prolifically like the golden apple snail which is also very greedy and eats everything!
There are 3 foods (as I know) that villagers will not cook for visitors or guests otherwise something bad will happen in their relationships and they will never see each other again. Those are eggs, duck and snail. I don’t really know why but perhaps it may be that eggs are too simple, duck is too much work and snails, well, maybe it’s from a Jataka - a story from the former incarnation of the Lord Buddha where a family really liked to eat freshwater snails. One day the family went to collect snails from the rice fields and took them back home, in the evening the mother said to her children that she would cook snails for breakfast. When the snails heard this they started crying and complaining of how pathetic their lives had been. They have no legs to run when birds or a man is trying to catch them, never see the moon, never see their lovers’ faces. That’s extremely sad and also they have to move from place to place by sliding their faces on the mud!!!
It’s quite true but sometimes we have no choice on what to eat, especially living in a village far away from the supermarket. Everyone needs to eat to survive and work hard in rice fields. So, we eat freshwater snails even though they live sad lives.
First clean the snails and cut their tails so it will make us easily suck the snail out from their shells. Then prepare chili paste. We need to pound dry chili, garlic and lemongrass together and then add into the hot boiling water with the snails. Add some young Cha-Om (Acacia) or Pak Chee Farang (Thai parsley) which is added after the snails are cooked. Finally add roasted rice powder so the curry is not too watery. We also can add whatever vegetable we like into the curry, there’s no rule about this.

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